Tokyo Governor arrives in London to promote bid for 2020 Olympics

Wednesday, 09 January 2013
By Duncan Mackay in London

Tokyo Governor leaves for London January 9 2012January 9 - Tokyo's new Governor Naoki Inose will make his first international appearance since being elected last month when he will be here tomorrow to promote the Japanese's capital to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Among the things Inose (pictured), who arrived here today, is expected to announce is that preliminary matches in the Olympic football tournament will be played at the Miyagi Stadium in the Tohoku region, which was at the centre of the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan in March 2011.

The Stadium, which hosted three matches during the World Cup in 2002, which Japan co-hosted with South Korea, was left undamaged by the earthquake.

But officials will be hoping that it is not an omen that Japan's hopes at that tournament were ended in the Miyagi Stadium when they were beaten by Turkey 1-0 in the last 16.

Istanbul, the Turkish financial capital, is considered to be Tokyo's main rivals for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, for which Madrid are also bidding.  

The Tohoku region, however, suffered badly from radioation stemming from the from the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant following a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials as a result of the disaster.

The area has now been officially declared safe by international officials.

The subject of safety in Japan if Tokyo's bid is successful is also set to be high on the agenda at the press conference at the five-star St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel.

Turkey v Japan World Cup 2002The Miyagi Stadium hosted three World Cup matches in 2002, including Turkey's victory over hosts Japan, and is set to stage games during the 2020 Olympics if the bid is successful

Tsunekazu Takeda, President of Tokyo 2020 and the Japanse Olympic Committee (JOC), has already claimed that there is no reason to feel unsafe there.

"No one can predict when and where a quake will strike, said Takeda, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"It can happen anywhere in the world,

"The important thing as a nation is to be as ready as you can be if and when it does occur.

"In Japan's case, the architectural standards are very strict and the sports facilities that will exist seven, eight years down the road will certainly meet them."

"During the March 11 quake, buildings in Tokyo withstood everything.

"No one died.

"We've been saying the facilities in Tokyo can and will hold up, and the Metropolitan Government is very aware how quake-proof they must be.

"The city will be sturdier than ever in 2020."

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